## Chain fraction: a game for mathematicians

People: Two or more teams of two persons each.

Rules: One person in each team is handed a page of mathematical exposition; a page from a journal article, or just a page full of equations. He’s the lecturer; the other, a few meters away, is the author. The lecturer’s mission is to speak out loud the formulas on his paper, while the author writes them down. The errors the author makes are, say, plus five seconds each to the team’s time. (“Wait, what time?”) After the page is done, the roles are reversed.

Goals: The team that does this the quickest wins. Whoever is judging this may deduct time for extraordinary outbursts of rage, or for the utilization of the phrase “What we had in our last paper”.

Note: Why yes, a lot of drink would help. Also, if you’re through, it would be possible though unchivalrous to yell nonsense to disturb the remaining teams. (“Nabla nabla nabla eleven blaagh!”) And the teams could be positioned in some kind of a circular crosshatch pattern not facing each other for added challenge.

As for why I’ve termed this game “chain fraction”, well, this is one:

$\displaystyle \frac{6x+1}{3x^2+\frac{x^2-4}{2x+\frac{11}{-5+\ldots}-1}-x^2}$

(Note: Haven’t tested this, as it was created mere minutes ago: I and a fellow graduate student noticed that some American professor had put his course of discrete mathematics up as a podcast. As in, mp3 files. What, “next we use Lemma 3 on lines (*) and (***) to get the following —“?)

### One Response to “Chain fraction: a game for mathematicians”

1. Bob O'H Says:

The statisticians’ version starts with a discussion of the optimal way to place the players – it’s a split-plot design of one sort or another.

By the time we’ve sorted that out we’re too drunk to continue.